ProStart educators will be recognized during the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show

(Chicago, Ill) National Restaurant Association Solutions is honoring this year’s top ProStart educators in 33 states for their innovation in teaching the ProStart program. These inspirational educators will be honored at a luncheon held at the Chicago City Centre in Chicago on Saturday, May 17th, during the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

“The restaurant and foodservice industry is predicted to add an additional two million employees over the next decade, and these top ProStart educators are building the future leaders of the industry to help us solve that staffing challenge,” said Bill Nolan, director of ProStart, National Restaurant Association Solutions. “We commend these outstanding teachers for their dedication and efforts to instill in their students the passion and skills necessary to succeed in the restaurant and foodservice industry.”

The ProStart program will present the 2008 Educator Excellence Awards to the following individuals who demonstrate excellence in education:

Arkansas, Donna Mitchell, Russellville Area Vo-Tech Center
California, Howard Merrick, Sherman Indian High School
Colorado, Sharon Nemeth, Palmer High School
Florida, June Bigham, Seabreeze High School
Guam, Frank Evangelista, George Washington High School
Georgia, Barbara Howard, Harlem High School
Minnesota, Mary Levinski, Sauk Rapids/Rice High School
Illinois, Loretta Johnson, Neal F. Simeon Career Academy
Indiana, Diana Hansen-Brattain, C-4 Career Center
Iowa, Lisa Stange, Waukee High School
Kansas, Melila Law, Field Kindley High School
Louisiana, Lindy Reeves, West St. John High School
Maryland, Elaine Heilman, Howard County Applications and Research Lab
Massachusetts, Carol Kelly, Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School
Michigan, Julie Ivan, Saginaw Career Complex
Missouri, Louise Lunkenheimer, Nevada Regional Technical Center – North Campus
Nebraska, Carol Fairfax, Papillion LaVista High School
Nevada, Fred Wright, Regional Technical Institute
New Jersey, Peter Santero, Passaic County Technical Institute
New Mexico, Dawn Rupp, Cloudcroft High School
New York, Nancy Iannacone, Capital Region Career & Technical School
North Carolina, Barry Oxendine, Purnell Swett High School
Ohio, Pamela S. Mock , Madison Comprehensive H. S.
Oklahoma, Donna Cantrell, Meridian Technology Center
Oregon, Pam Simpson, Taft High School
Rhode Island, William Mackin, Newport Area Careers & Technical Center
South Carolina, Julian Buckner, Wando High School
Virginia, Pamela Sloan, Manchester High
West Virginia, Lesa Spears, Academy of Careers & Technology
Wisconsin, Cate Gasser, Baraboo High School
Wyoming, Debra Bauman, Pine Bluffs High School

The Educator Excellence Awards recognize exceptional high school educators who use the ProStart program in their classrooms. Each state restaurant association ProStart coordinator is asked to nominate the state’s leading educator who has demonstrated a commitment to their students and to the ProStart program. The winning teachers have employed innovative techniques to motivate their students to learn and participate in mentored internships to prepare them for a career in the industry. As part of their award, the educators will be flown to Chicago and hosted for two nights by NRA Solutions from May 16-17, 2008. Weekend activities include an opening reception on Friday evening at Buca di Beppo and a best practices networking session on Saturday, followed by the Educator Excellence Awards Luncheon at 11:30am at the Chicago City Centre, 300 East Ohio St. Following the luncheon, the educators are provided a complimentary ticket to the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

The ProStart program encompasses approximately 60,000 students and 1,600 educators in 47 states, territories and districts. The career-building program was developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and is managed nationally by National Restaurant Association Solutions in conjunction with state restaurant associations. The ProStart program is a two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the management skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. When students pass two national exams, complete a checklist of competencies, and participate in at least 400 hours of a mentored work experience, they are awarded the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement that signifies they are well qualified to enter the industry workforce. For more information on the ProStart program, please visit

Now in its 89th year, the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals in the Western Hemisphere. The 2008 Show will be held May 17-20, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. The Show attracts 2,000+ exhibiting companies and 74,000 attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 115 countries. More information can be found on the Show Web site at

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